Masarykovo Cukroví (Masaryk’s Cookies)

No, I didn’t eat all of those cookies in one sitting. LOL! Just a couple.

These simple shortbread type cookies are sort of the Czech equivalent of Pecan Sandies in the US. The main difference is the use of whole hazelnuts/filberts, instead of pecans. Hazelnuts (called “lískové oříšky” in Czech) are quite popular in Czech desserts. They also add unique circles in each cookie slice. Beyond the time it takes for the dough to chill and cookies to bake, the preparation process is quick and and very easy.

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Plněné Ořechy (Stuffed “Nut” Cookies)

Would you like a nut…cookie?

Christmas cookie making gone nuts? Well, I guess you could say, “Yes!” These Plněné Ořechy (stuffed nut-shaped cookies) are usually reserved for more ambitious Christmas cookie making, but it’s quite a pleasure when they appear on the cookie tray. They are meant to look like a nut (most often walnut) and to celebrate their wonderful flavor. A final decoration with either chocolate on the ends, or simply a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, is optional. “Stuffings” can vary according to taste or nut shape. Here I continue the nut flavor, but with a touch of rum.

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History of Vánočka (Czech Christmas Bread)

“Vánočka” is a very large semi-sweet braided Czech Christmas bread that is the symbol of Christmas in Czech Republic. It’s a treat you can see in nearly every Czech household, just prior to and/or during the Christmas holidays. Its name derives from the very word for Christmas in Czech, which is “vánoce”.

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Czech Christmas Bread (Vánočka) – Traditional yeast-raised

Using yeast is the most common approach to making Czech Christmas bread (Vánočka). It requires two separate risings during the preparation process. From beginning to end, set aside at least 4 ½ hours to make. This recipe makes a long loaf with between 16 and 20 servings.

For a brief history of this Czech holiday staple, see my post Vánočka (Czech Christmas Bread) – Brief history and recipes. It references the recipe below, as well as an appealing yeast-free version that includes farmers cheese. Enjoy!

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Czech Farmers Cheese Christmas Bread (Tvarohová Vánočka)

This is a variation on the beloved Czech Christmas sweet bread (Vanočká) that is usually made with yeast. Instead, this version uses baking powder and other leavening agents. It also includes soft-style farmers cheese (měkký tvaroh), which increases its richness and gives its inside a slightly softer texture. It is quicker to make than its yeast-raised cousin (soon to also be posted), only requiring about 2 hours or less, from start to finish.

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Makové Kuličky (Poppy Seed Balls)

Mák (poppy seeds) are commonly used in baking, confections, and even more savory cooking, in Czech Republic. These poppy seed balls are unbaked, have only a small number of ingredients, and are relatively quick to make. If you love poppy seeds, you might really like these on your Christmas cookie platter. They are definitely unique!

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Kokosky (Coconut Meringue Cookies)

Puffs of heavenly coconut bliss

Today is only the second week of November, yet I’ve made my first batch of Christmas cookies this year! I’ve decided to add a few additional varieties to my 10 Varieties of Czech Christmas Cookies post. So maybe I’ll have 13 or 14 in that post before Christmas?

Here I’m featuring melt in your mouth coconut meringue cookies, which are also popular on Czech Christmas cookie trays. Like most Czech cookies, they are made small to be one or two-bites each. Virtually the only fat in these meringues comes from the coconut, unless you decide to dip them in chocolate, as well.

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Buchty Recipes (Czech sweet buns with fillings)

As the buchty continue to rise, they bake together.

This month, my Czech Christmas cookie posts are being viewed by hundreds of people. It’s quite exciting! I will not be posting any additional Czech cookie recipe this year, but thought I’d add at least one new Czech sweet to my blog. Buchty are very popular sweet buns that are usually filled with a family’s favorite sweet fillings. It is the case that many buchty fillings are used for other recipes, including some Czech Christmas cookie recipes. Given this, you may wish to keep note of the filling recipes, by themselves. Or, maybe consider filling your home with the lovely scent of buchty. My husband and I enjoy eating buchty for breakfast, but they can be enjoyed anytime!

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Weeks 6 & 7 – Friday Fitness & Weight Loss Restart (Hectic, but some good results)

I’m sorry I missed last week’s update. The past two weeks have been ultra-hectic. I confess that some of the days I neglected to track my meals. I also ate some things that I wouldn’t normally eat during this effort. I didn’t go too overboard. See what happened below:

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Week 5 – Friday Fitness & Weight Loss Restart (Normal Weight Fluctuations)

Weight fluctuations
Person weighs 67.9 kg (149.7 lbs) on Day 3 at breakfast. After supper, 69.55 kg (153.3 lbs). That’s a 1.65 kg (3.64 lb) gain the same day. Weight decreases notably by next day (Day 4) breakfast.

Graph Source:  Wikimedia Commons (click here to see source)

Last Friday, my scale showed a mini weight gain. I had stayed within my daily calorie allowances. The gain annoyed me for that reason, and because it undid my accomplishment of reaching an interim goal. However, I knew I lost fat. Just knew it! I coughed up the gain to “other factors”, meaning water weight, hormonal fluctuations, and/or something else. My weight can fluctuate greatly, even within a day. So, I put that behind me. I expected that I’d see a good result today. Did I? See below. Continue reading